Tag Archives: roundabout

Height of new Silverdale roundabout middle is no accident

The in basket: Retired educator Dick Barich is the second person to contact me with the opinion that the “Welcome to Silverdale” monument in the middle of the new Silverdale roundabout at the base of Newberry Hill Road is too high.

It obscures the view of oncoming traffic already in the roundabout, he said, and unnecessarily reduces the reaction time for a driver approaching on Newberry Hill to decide whether to pull into the roundabout, he said.

The out basket: I had a feeling the county had considered this in the design of the roundabout, and it didn’t take long before Tina Nelson, Kitsap County engineering’s senior project manager, provided me with the rationale.

“A raised center island is a preferable feature in a roundabout,” Tina said. “This is so that drivers entering a roundabout are not focused on, or distracted by, cars opposite the roundabout which should not be a concern.

“The goal is to have the driver’s focus on pedestrians and the vehicles within the roundabout that they would have a conflict with. It is actually recommended that the sight distance for entering the roundabout be kept at the minimum required, again with a focus on getting drivers to slow down.

“The wall also provides a visual cue to drivers that they are approaching a non-standard intersection, as well as a break in headlight glare of oncoming vehicles,” Tina said.

She provided an online link to the state Department of Transportation’s design manual for roundabouts,

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/publications/manuals/fulltext/M22-01/1320.pdf, pages 1320-40, which will tell you a lot more about them than you ever wondered about. Or, she said, Google “roundabouts” and you’ll get even more.

State, county have tutorials for driving in a roundabout

The in basket: John Stokes writes, “I was leaving Silverdale today and when I got to the roundabout at Chico Way, I say a car facing the wrong way trying to turn left on Chico Way.  This is not the first time I have seen this.

“I also noticed a car stopped in the roundabout at the Manette Bridge, letting traffic into the roundabout coming off the Manette Bridge,” he said.

“Does the county or state have any plans to teach people how to use roundabouts, as they are becoming more common?” John asked.

The out basket: I saw the same thing once in the Manette roundabout. I can’t say if it was a different driver than John saw. It’s the wrong thing to do, but not likely to cause an accident, which going clockwise in a roundabout very well could.

There is a learning curve with any new traffic control, but both the state and Kitsap County provide instructions on using a roundabout,

The county’s is the best, and can be seen at http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roundabout.htm

The state says the following in its drivers guide, the tutorial for all new drivers and a reference for any driver:

A roundabout is an intersection control device with traffic circulating around an island. Approaching vehicles must yield to the traffic in the circle. Always yield to pedestrians and bicyclists who are legally crossing the road. Inside the circle, always drive around the circle to the right.

How to drive in a roundabout:

1. Slow down as you approach the intersection; roundabouts are designed for speeds of 15-20 mph.

2. Enter the roundabout when there is a gap in traffic. Once inside, do not stop. Follow directions on signs or pavement markings about which lane to use.

3. You may exit at any street or continue around if you miss your exit.”

The county recommends signaling while approaching and while in a roundabout and readers often advocate it in contacting the Road Warrior column. The state is mum on that subject. It’s not required unless you change lanes, which doesn’t happen in a one-lane roundabout.

I find the speed and position of the car to be more helpful in predicting what it will do than what it might be signaling.

What’s holding up the Noll Road roundabout in Poulsbo?

The in basket: Ellen Ross-Cardoso of Poulsbo asks, “Could you find out if the construction of the unneeded roundabout at Lincoln and Noll in Poulsbo is ever going to end?

“According to the signs it was supposed to have been completed September 1, and more than three months later they’re still out there screwing with it. Is this a lot more complicated than it seems, or is there no meaningful work out there for county road crews?”

The out basket: It is actually a city of Poulsbo project, with a little financial participation from the county.

Mike Lund, the city’s senior field inspector, says, “The Noll Road Roundabout Project is just about complete. The contractor, RV Associates, has a few more punch list items to complete and the project will be over.

“The project was scheduled to be completed October 15 (though the construction sign said Sept. 30). The contractor has been working on completing the punch list items since mid-October but between the bad weather and scheduling of subcontractors, it has taken longer than expected.

“The workers your reader saw onsite are actually part of the contractors and subcontractors work force. The city of Poulsbo has an inspector that is onsite as needed but not full time now.

“RV Associates has done a good job on this project,” Mike said. “Unfortunately some things just take a little longer than expected. The project will be completed by the end of next week and the project will be completed under budget.”


Order street lights early and store them, if needed, says reader

The in basket: When Jeff Griswold read the earlier Road Warrior about the delay in getting needed street light equipment for the new Silverdale-Chico-Newberry roundabout, (and similar experiences by various jurisdictions on that kind of project), he succinctly wrote, “when a project starts, order them and if they get delivered early…. store them somewhere.  I am sure there is a place things like that can sit until needed.”

I told the county that was my reaction too when they said the equipment was ordered on time but the manufacturer didn’t deliver it on time.

I also see by way of a front page story this week that late delivery of a signal pole is responsible for delay in the city of Bremerton’s Warren Avenue work.

The out basket: Tina Nelson, senior program manager for Kitsap County Public Works, called Jeff’s suggestion ‘”a very reasonable idea,” and one that is used, but there can be issues with warranties when items are sitting in a yard somewhere.

She also said the early completion of the rest of the Silverdale project exaggerated the apparent length of the delay.

“A consideration is made on every project,” she said, “as to how we are going to deal with long lead items.  Purchase ahead, set up contract with lead time, suspend the project for material purchase, and more. Every solution has its own pros and cons.

“On the roundabout, we had the poles, (but) the arms were delayed.  All materials were ordered in time with a shipping date provided to the contractor acceptable to the meet the project schedule. This was never seen as an issue, until the contractor was able to get the paving done ahead of schedule, and the streetlight arms were delayed at the last minute. The benefit of the early paving to the quality of the project, and leaving out the potential delay for weather, was huge, but not one that is easily communicated to and understood by the public.  They see what they see, which is how it works.”


Comparing costs of roundabouts and traffic signals

The in basket: Robert Balcomb of Silverdale wasn’t satisfied with the answer he got from the Road Warior column in December about the comparative costs of a roundabout, such is being built south of Silverdale, and a traffic signal there.

“Here I am again,” he wrote on May 21. The public has a right to know what these ‘awful’ (as stated in this morning’s Sun) traffic circles cost compared with traffic lights.

“Let the brains who decided on these monstrosities answer to residents of the affected neighborhoods, especially those living on the north end of Silverdale Way, who (for how many months?) must drive miles south to Eldorado, north on Provost to get to Silverdale.  No more of their weak excuses, tell us the dollars.”

That was missing from the December response, which instead focused on the greater safety and lower future maintenance costs of roundabouts.

So I asked the county for the numbers to build each.

The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says a cost analysis comparing the Silverdale roundabout with signals there says the roundabout would be less expensive in the first place, $1.35 million to $1.4 million.

I don’t know how persuaded Robert and others who dislike roundabouts will be that signals would cost $1.4 million. You can look at that cost analysis at http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/pdf/SWay_design_rptapp.pdf. and judge for yourself.

Either option includes contingency allowances running into the hundred of thousands of dollars, but those amounts are about the same for both.

Nearly a quarter of the signals’ cost  – $199,500 – would go to constructing a soldier pile wall, nearly as much as the $300,000 for the signal equipment itself.

Doug says “The variables in considering costs are numerous which makes a direct comparison challenging. (Besides the initial construction costs), ongoing maintenance costs are generally higher for a signalized intersection than the cost of maintaining a roundabout.

“Where long-term costs are considered, roundabouts eliminate hardware, maintenance and electrical costs associated with traffic signals, which can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 per year.

“Engineers also consider how the improvement affects the capacity of the intersection, and how the improvement affects traffic flow. Every intersection is unique, and the particular characteristics of each project are considered as the project is developed.

“What is clear in almost every roundabout application is that roundabouts are safer for motorists than signalized intersections. At a four-way intersection there are, at least, 32 possible vehicle-to-vehicle conflicts. At a four-way roundabout there are only eight.

“Roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Studies by the IIHS and Federal Highway Administration have shown that roundabouts typically achieve:

·        A 37 percent reduction in overall collisions

·        A 75 percent reduction in injury collisions

·        A 90 percent reduction in fatality collisions

·        A 40 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions

The combination of lower speeds through the intersection, no light to beat, and one-direction travel improve safety in the intersection. In addition they also generally reduce delays and improve traffic flow. Roundabouts promote a continuous flow of traffic which allows the intersection to handle more traffic in the same amount of time.”

More information can be seen at www.kitsapgov.com/pw/pdf/silvway_Roundabout_V_Signal.pdf

Is that a roundabout going in at 4th and Park?

The in basket: I was heading east on Fourth Street approaching Warren Avenue in Bremerton when looking ahead I noticed that the upcoming intersection at Park Avenue, where the new theaters are being built, had a lot of work going on.

I drove down there and found what looked like a new roundabout under construction. There was a roundabout-style sign posted in the intersection, directing drivers around the center of the intersection.

I’m a big fan of roundabouts but I know not everyone is. It seemed like this one has been flying under the radar.

The out basket: It may look like one now, but it won’t be a roundabout when completed, says Brian Fyall, a consultant with the city on the development in that area. It will be a flat granite feature depicting an anchor and four points of the compass. Traffic will pass over it in a traditional intersection alignment.

“The roundabout style sign is a temporary measure,” he said. “The contractor needs to pour a a concrete subbase for the granite accent,” so the middle of the intersection is off-limits for now.

A pair of Fifth Street curiosities and roundabout reminder

The in basket: I was putting along eastbound on Fifth Street in Bremerton recently when my wife in the passenger seat noticed that I had given no indication that I had seen a stop sign at Veneta Avenue.

“Stop sign,” she said, and it was a good thing. I had not seen it and was surprised it was there. It was new. How new I didn’t know. Had I been running it and its mate on the other side of the intersection, or had I just not been on Fifth Street for a long time? There were no orange flags or signs indicating a change in traffic control.

Thusly moved to curiosity, I wondered a couple blocks later at Chester Avenue about the traffic calming island put in the middle of the intersection a couple years ago. Traffic was light and turning left in front of the island would have been easier than going around it to turn left. I wondered if that would be legal.

So I asked.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson of the city engineers said he’d been curious about the four-way stop created at Fifth and Veneta  himself, and learned that it was all done months ago in response to a neighborhood petition. It seems like a good move, given all the foot traffic around the Catholic school and church there.

“It was reviewed by engineering in April of last

year,” Gunnar said, “and a work order to maintenance sent out on May 5.  The new

signs and traffic revision signs were installed shortly thereafter,along with swapping the lenses in the flashing light from yellow to red.

“After the 30-day installation period passed, all traffic revision signs were removed.”

He and Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police said it is not legal to turn in front of a traffic island, any more than it would be to turn left and not go around a roundabout . You have to go around.

Gunnar asked that we use this as an opportunity to revisit another element of driving roundabouts.

“We are receiving complaints that some

motorists coming across the (new) bridge are ignoring the Yield sign when entering the new Manette roundabout,” he said.

“We would like to try and educate before going to enforcement,” he said.

As I noted in a December Road Warrior, the construction of the roundabout in Manette has changed the rules for right of way at that end of the bridge. Drivers exiting the bridge in Manette no longer have the right of way over other traffic flows and must yield to anyone already in the roundabout. That’s the rule for all roundabouts.

At the Fifth Street traffic circle, stop signs control the side street and drivers at the stop signs must yield to traffic on the through street.

Silverdale roundabout project worries Realtor

The in basket: Real estate agent Karen Ebersole saw the schematic for the upcoming Silverdale/Chico/Newberry roundabout in Silverdale in a recent Road Warrior column and said she had been meaning to ask “what their plans are for routing traffic during the seven-month construction project. The only other way into Silverdale is the northern route at the mall exit,” she said. “I can see this as being a real nightmare for everyone, especially those living along Chico Way.

“As a real estate professional, this traffic construction/routing will also significantly impact the way I conduct business.”

The out basket: Tina Nelson, senior program manager in Kitsap County Public Works, says, “It’s planned that the road will remain open during construction, though some closure of access to and from Chico Way will be permitted.

“There is a proposed phasing plan in the contract. How traffic is routed is ultimately determined by the contractor. A public meeting is planned prior to the start of construction. Information regarding that meeting will be published when it is available.

“Representatives from the county and the contractor will be on hand to detail what to expect during construction, and answer questions from area residents,” she said. “Details about the project are available online http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/crp_3645.htm, the project website.

Reader lights up Silverdale street light planning

Schematic of proposed roundabout at Silverdale/Chico Way and Newberry Hill Road

The in basket: Greaves Way, the link between Highway 303 and Old Frontier Road northwest of Silverdale. has inspired a couple of questions from Peter Wimmer of Silverdale.

One, he asked, “is there ever going to be ground maintenance on Greaves Way?”

And two, he said, when he  asked the Road Warrior column about the fancy lighting on that road a couple years ago, “the project engineer said that it was done (because) it was the ‘Gateway to Silverdale.’ Then at the Dec. 21 Central Kitsap Community Council meeting where Tina Nelson (senior project manager for the county), gave the brief on the Silverdale Way roundabout and Bucklin Hill Road bridge project, I asked about the lighting and she said that it was going to be the standard grey metal pole lighting.

“If the roundabout  is not another Silverdale Gateway (and yes, ‘Welcome to Silverdale’ is included in the design) then what is?  This again is showing how Greaves Way is another ‘build it and they will come’ waste of tax dollars. And how do we get a true Gateway to Silverdale with proper lighting?”

The out basket: Peter’s first question implies that the Greaves Way landscaping was planted and forgotten, but Don Schultz, county road superintendent , says that’s not the case.

“Between April and October,” he said, “the county spent almost $10,000 on vegetation management efforts along Greaves Way. This includes about 240 staff hours controlling vegetation along the roadway.”

Their focus was driver visibility and keeping brush growth out of the street. “It is not landscaping in the truest sense,” he said, “but rather managing the vegetation to ensure the travel lanes remain clear.”

Tina Nelson took the second question, and said, “There has been, and continues to be, discussion with the Central Kitsap Community Council (CKCC) about using the center of the roundabout for a ‘feature’ (a gateway in a sense) to welcome motorists to Silverdale. The decision was made to include minor work within the center (including the wall with the Welcome to Silverdale letters) in the current construction project, and work later on a ‘feature.’ The feature could include art, plants, something by the community, a competition, or other ideas being considered by the CKCC.

“The construction plan is to provide the required lighting that meets (state) standards for safety for the roundabout. The current plan specifies standard (state) light poles. This is county standard for projects if we can’t hang luminaries from existing power poles. The standard poles meet safety specifications, and allow us to use existing inventory parts for any maintenance required. This keeps maintenance costs lower.

“We listened to feedback provided at the December CKCC meeting. We are reviewing the possibility of installing light poles more decorative than the standard poles currently in the project design.

“We are reviewing pole options, initial cost of installation, time and cost for a redesign of the lighting system, and future maintenance costs. Decorative lighting could also be provided to the corridor at a later date in addition to the required lighting. This would be more directed towards pedestrians and create a place and ambiance.”

Some remaining Manette Bridge questions

The in basket: Larry Avery, Jeff David and Robert Balcomb have posed the latest questions to the Road Warrior column about the new Manette Bridge in Bremerton.

Larry said on Dec. 29, “(I) was at the Boat Shed this afternoon and it doesn’t seem like anything has happened there in some time.
“Sure, they have been working on the demo of our old bridge, but has the state let the contractor slide on getting the final work done on the new bridge?
“Is this thing on schedule?”
Jeff, a former Bremerton police traffic officer, asks,”When is someone going to admit that they should have had a right turn off the bridge like before to move many vehicles onto Shore Drive and East 11th, rather they enduring two stop signs on Pitt and East 11th.  It’s nice to have a park, but at what expense?”

Robert writes, “There was a plan circulated around town concerned with turning the old Manette Bridge into a People’s Bridge, such as for abandoned traffic and railroad bridges in America and Europe.

“I photographed the bridge from the Boatshed Restaurant, and wife Mary Balcomb painted it to show what could have been a public walkway and gathering place. The picture circulated widely, gathering many signatures in favor.  Also we spoke with several engineers who agreed that the understructures can be up-kept just like has been done for other bridges.”

The out basket: Jeff Cook, the state’s project engineer on the bridge replacement, said on Dec. 30, “The demolition of the old Manette Bridge has been the most noticeable operation over the last six weeks, however a great deal more has been ongoing as well, some which cannot be seen from the south side.

“The overhang brackets that supported the barrier and deck construction of the north side of the bridge are completing the removal process.

“The massive beams which supported the  construction of the first span on west side took several weeks to unfasten and remove.

‘”Grading operations for the east and west banks were completed and the expanded viewscape construction is nearly complete with only planting remaining.

“At any given time there have been three to five separate operations occurring beyond the … demolition.

“So the next question will likely be: What’s left?

– “The contractor will complete the demolition of the two remaining concrete piers; both on the east side in the beach area.  This is tidally dependent, will be at night, and likely complete by the middle of January.

– “The contractor has been awaiting the final shipments of green railing to be installed on the south side of the bridge. A fabrication issue delayed the delivery, but the remaining materials are scheduled to be on site then in place by the end of January. Once installed, the sidewalk will be open to the full 10-foot width.” Gaps in the north side rail also have awaited the overdue pieces, he said.

– “Planting for the viewscape and the center of the roundabout will complete approximately the middle of January.

-“The last work under this contract will be the application of pigmented sealer to the girder faces and end piers. (The public will generally see this as ‘painting’).

“(It) must occur when the temperature is consistently above 50 degrees and not raining.

“What will likely happen is all the work above will complete, the contractor will leave the site, then return in April to complete the pigmented sealing of the bridge. This work will take approximately three weeks and will be conducted from barges.

“So, yes we are on schedule.  The contractor has been working on several operations, both day and night, to complete the work.”

Answers to Jeff David’s and Robert’s questions are found in the “frequently asked questions” segment of the state’s Manette Bridge Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR303/ManetteBridgeReplacement/FAQ.htm.

A roundabout connection to Shore Drive would have been too steep, so wasn’t built, it says.

Due to the deteriorated condition of the old bridge, it would present a real risk to the new bridge during a major earthquake, if left in place, it also said.